Step into summer with a healthy mind and body
Changing seasons often means cleaning and decluttering our homes and personal spaces.t. But it can also be a time for emotional renewal – for ushering in the change in seasons with a reset, a commitment to positive changes in your life. It’s a time to let go of grievances and implement preventive strategies to stay healthy and happy.
Consider the move into warmer weather as a kind of metaphorical move into more light and to renewal. With LifeJourney™, TELUS Health offers you a virtual health and wellness platform to help make these changes. Using this next generation Employee Assistance Program (EAP), you can connect 24/7 with care advocate who can set up a detailed care plan to access the support you need — everything from nutritional support to mental health counselling and financial advice. You can also get Specialized Digital Therapy (SDT), also known as internet-based cognitive-behavioural therapy (iCBT), which will help you understand how negative thoughts and behaviours affect how we feel, and how interpreting events differently can shift how we feel.
Here are some ways to make changes in your life to bring healing and rejuvenation.
1. Strive for a balanced lifestyle.
“Since the pandemic, the term ‘life balance’ has become far more relevant than ‘work-life balance,’ says Roee Ben-Eli, Director of Strategic Programs at TELUS Health. “That’s because it has become more difficult than ever before to separate life from work.”
Flexible time shouldn’t mean “work all the time.” Take predictable periods of time off when you don’t check your phone or other devices, and set boundaries between your personal and work life. That could mean keeping all devices out of a certain room in your home, never working during designated “family time” or deciding that your work day ends at a certain hour and sticking to it.
Also remember to take breaks when you need them, including taking a “sick day” from work not just when you are physically sick, but when you are feeling emotionally exhausted or depleted as well. As Ben-Eli points out, lost productivity from reduced “presenteeism” (when you are at work, but not living up to your potential) can be far more costly to an organization1 than an employee taking off a shorter period of time to rest and rejuvenate.
2. Learn tools to help prevent disease.
Learn tools to not just respond to problems but to help prevent disease. “Virtual care tends to be used episodically; that is, when someone doesn’t feel well. But a better approach is to engage support proactively, before you get sick2,” says Ben-Eli.
You can also get self-guided mental health support through the TELUS Health Virtual Care SDT program, which allows you to work through modules on your own. The topics range from building resilience to learning good sleep hygiene and dealing with emotional triggers; a behavioural coach and a licensed mental health clinician will then give you feedback on your work and guide you through the process.
3. Be mindful.
Find ways to be mindful in moments throughout the day: turn off your phone while you’re in line at the grocery store or while you’re walking with your dog in the park. Pay attention to what is around you. What are you seeing, hearing, feeling and smelling?
You can also ground yourself in the present by appreciating moments of joy in your life, and practising gratitude. Take a photo of something that brings you happiness. Connect with friends. Strike up a conversation with a neighbour. These are all ways we can be present and aware of our surroundings. You don’t need to go on a trip or have an “extreme adventure” to find moments of real happiness.
For more concrete mindfulness strategies, connect with one of TELUS Health Virtual Care’s registered clinical counsellors, social workers and psychologists who use mindfulness as one of their therapeutic approaches. You can also access meditation content through one of the many meditation apps that exist today.
4. Get some sleep!
“Sleep hygiene” seems like an overly technical term for developing good sleep habits to make you more alert throughout the day, and likely in a much better mood!
Much of sleeping well is not about what you do once you get into bed, but about preparing for sleep. Commit to a consistent bedtime and wake up time, and do this on weekends as well as weekdays. Before bed, take a warm bath or shower and do something to wind down, like a bit of yoga or meditation. And if you have a lot on your mind, write down a to-do list for the next day or journal about what is bothering you: that way, you can expel your worries so your sleep is more peaceful.
5. Give back to your community.
It may seem obvious that we would feel good by doing something kind for other people, but research has shown that volunteering also has tangible benefits for our health, from reducing depression and stress to lowering blood pressure to possibly even helping us live longer!3
Participating in community projects, and supporting others in your neighbourhood, is a great way to form connections, and reduce feelings of isolation.4
Don’t wait until you feel sick or unwell to set new goals for living a healthier life. These are all ways you can stay healthy. Cleaning and decluttering can start any time of the year!
1. Canadian Medical Association. (2022). Social determinants of health. Retrieved June 29, 2022 from www.cma.ca/social-determinants-health
2. Hemp, P. (2004, October). Presenteeism: At work — But out of it. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved June 11, 2022 fromhttps://hbr.org/2004/10/presenteeism-at-work-but-out-of-it
3. National Institutes on Aging. (2021, January 14). Loneliness and social isolation: Tips for staying connected. National Institutes on Aging. Retrieved June 22, 2022 from www.nia.nih.gov/health/loneliness-and-social-isolation-tips-staying-connected
4. Wise, A., MacIntosh, E., Rajakulendran, N. & Khayat, Z. (2016, March 29). Transforming health: Shifting from reactive to proactive and predictive care. Transforming Health Market Insight Series. Retrieved June 22, 2022 from www.marsdd.com/news/transforming-health-shifting-from-reactive-to-proactive-and-predictive-care/